song

by tobias crabtree

i was up early this mornin’. the wind was up and my rig was rocking between the creosotes.  i could hear the cactus wrens and their scratchy call; open the door and they’ll come in without a worry in the world.  i rolled outa the rig and saw myself in the glass outside the privy, creases and gray and shaggy, long hair caused me cut the look short.

coffee made, i bare-footed it back to the rig. i was prep’in up for a tattoo, that usually puts me in a good mood. there was a song in my head, something i was making up. it had to do with saying that “i don’t mind, if you wanna sing the blues. and i don’t mind, if you got scuffed up shoes…” i sang and liked it.

the wind was cracking by mid-morning. it’s spring in the desert so there really ain’t a pattern. could be wind. could be cold. could be blazing hot. i sat and chatted with ethan about the migrating birds and the wind. i told him about a time in patagonia when i watched song birds drop to the ground and resign to hopping, single file, up the dirt streets, against the wind.

i left ethan and his grand presence and went to do some work. i thought of my good buddy, hunter, as i drove the washboard roads and cranked metallica through my shitty little speakers. the song was good and i imagined hunter swinging a hammer in front of his forge to some good, old, heavy metal song. the road led to my friends’ house.  travis and shea laughed and joked through the time we spent together. i finished a big piece on shea’s leg. i finished somewhere around 2 o’clock.

on the way back to ethan and chris’s place, i saw a little grossbeak dead on the side of the road. it looked like a something too bright to be real, lying in the sand at the side of the road. i slowed, but i didn’t stop. i kinda wanted to move it away from the pavement but i didn’t. i got back to the house and chris was looking out the back window. she was up on a chair, a higher vantage point for looking out and down at all the little songbirds on the ground, eating mulberries. the wind. just like in patagonia, it had grounded the little migrators. in the yard there were wrens and vireos and tanagers and grosbeaks and sparrows and orioles, all spread out on the ground like a spilled bag of skittles. we laughed and talked about the way they were waiting for the air to slow down.

they all have their own song. so do i, i guess. i was singing it this morning, and maybe tonight i’ll sing something else. maybe i’ll sing something by ol’ willie nelson, or maybe neil diamond, or maybe i’ll sing something by iron maiden, something like run to the hills, and dedicate it to hunter. the point is, there are songs to sing. so warm up your chords and sing. the world is in dire need of some honest singing, i’m quite sure it won’t hurt if we warble just a little.